Michigan’s State Historic Preservation Office announced recently that Huron County’s Pointe aux Barques and Port Austin Reef lighthouses will receive grants totaling $66,633 from the Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program funded by the state’s specialty license plate program Rep. Candice Miller established when serving as Secretary of State.
Rep. Miller supported the grants, saying spending time on the water was a way of life for her growing up on the Great Lakes.
“I know well the joys and excitement of exploring these magnificent waters. I also know the dangers these waters can present and the safety our historic lighthouses have provided mariners throughout history. Since the mid 1800s, Pointe aux Barques and Port Austin Reef lighthouses have been warning mariners of the dangerous ledges and rocks at the tip of Michigan’s Thumb,” she said.
She said the history of the lighthouses needs to be preserved for future generations.
“They have rich histories with exciting stories to tell. That’s why they must be preserved; so that future generations can understand and appreciate their role in our maritime history,” she said.
Miller has long worked to preserve Michigan lighthouses.
In 2001, while serving as Michigan’s Secretary of State, Miller started a specialty license plate program to raise money for several state-supported causes including the maintenance and preservation of the state’s 124 lighthouses. Funding for the Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program comes from the sale of lighthouse preservation license plates. Twenty-five dollars from each license plate sold, and ten dollars for each license plate renewal, goes to the Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program.
“Recognizing the need to maintain and preserve our lighthouses, as Secretary of State I was pleased to introduce the specialty license plate program to help direct funds to the volunteers that maintain these landmarks. I thank all of the organizations and citizen volunteers for their dedication to preserving these wonderful structures for all of us to admire and enjoy,” she said.
Part of Michigan’s State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), the Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program (MLAP) was established by the Michigan Legislature in 1999 to assist local groups in preserving and protecting lighthouses. According to SHPO, the Pointe aux Barques Light Station is to receive $26,633, and the Port Austin Reef Light Station is to receive $40,000.